Leica A Letter to Leica AG CEO Alfred Schopf

I think a lot of people are panicking about the cover glass, a sensor with a different cover glass is not an upgrade. S8612 glass is the best available in terms of optical performance. If it is not corroding, do not replace it. Leica has stated they they will replace a sensor that shows corrosion no matter how old it is. That's good enough for me.

The BG-18 glass and every other one that I found data sheets for: not as efficient in passing Visible light as is S8612. This is a different problem than the LCD's on the M8 where there was a bad run at the manufacturer that caused a batch to go bad. The S8612 may last a very, very long time in some cameras- beyond the rest of the electronics. Others, climate dependent, need to have the sensors exchanged with a cover glass more suited to their environment.
 
The BG-18 glass is more resilient to humidity, and would make a good replacement for the S8612 glass that is giving problems. If a sensor has to be replaced, would be best to replace it with a sensor that will last longer under the same conditions. BG-18 or another glass would do better.

But- that is different from replacing sensors that show no sign of problems. I believe only sensors showing problems should be replaced, rather than replacing all sensors with a new version of the sensor. I've read a lot of posts around the web of owners wanting the sensor replaced whether showing trouble or not.

I can't believe the fuss that is being made over this on some other forums. I have a lot of respect for the work that went into solving the technical challenges that went into making a Digital RF camera. It's too bad that so many others do not. They can shoot mirrorless, but RF wide-angle lenses will not do as well. The big loss is the Viewfinder- being able to see outside of the field of view of the lens. I don't think Kodak will come out with a Digital Retina IIIS. Lots of clearance for a thick filter stack, no problem with IR absorbing glass separate from the Sensor.
 

Raid

All-Pro
1. Leica should invest more in the post sales service instead of opening so many boutiques worldwide !

2. Consider replacing the IR cover glass that is over the sensor with another type of cover (BG-18) that is less sensitive to humidity.Do this only for defective sensors,

3. Be more consistent in deciding whether to charge or not charge for sensor issues repairs.


4. Stop the bargaining at the repair counter by giving a 5 years warranty on cameras as with lenses

5. Don't ever stop making CCD based Digital cameras.

6. Make the upgrade from the M9 immediate, even if the sensor is working.

7. Leica has a special relationship with a niche market segment that is historically invested in old and new M mount lenses and has followed the company through and contributed to its transition to the digital age. Unfortunately, a significant portion of the users in this niche segment cannot afford products priced at the luxury-niche level. And many who do make the stretch are doing so with the idea of being able to use the camera for a longer period of time. This part of the market deserves a no-frills, reliable, moderately priced option that offers full M mount compatibility, full frame, at a premium over other non-RF products, but still at a price affordable for this loyal base.
__________________
 

Raid

All-Pro
I got this feedback from someone about the first 6 points:

To 1: that's going to get the discussion off to a good start - not!
To 2: fair to assume that Leica engineers are by now aware of this and investigating that angle
To 3: from what I've read, currently all replacements are free of charge - and those who have been charged will get reimbursed.
To 4: good one - but would leave those with the oldest M9 bodies no longer covered.
To 5: I don't think that's really an option - and haven't Leica ******s already done enough damage to the company by insisting on old technology for far too long? Comparing the M rangefinder to the Fuji X100T hybrid finder leaves little doubt for me which one is the better option.
To 6: good luck on that one - why should Leica do that?
 
Raid- I think the "sit back and listen", have questions ready for conversation is reasonable. Responses such as "there are other cover glasses available", "I understand the unique issues of making a Digital rangefinder", "No other company would ever offer such a satisfactory solution for cameras that are out of warranty", "and Many users appreciate having a CCD sensor in a camera, ones usually reserved for Scientific Instruments that make Leica prices pale by comparison"...

As far as askng for feedback on what to say, you have used Leica cameras for a long time. Ask what you want to know, it's your call.
 

Raid

All-Pro
I will do that, Brian. People have different opinions. I will share with the CEO my own views. The list below has some useful material in it. I have to be selective.

My "list" is now this:

1. Leica should invest more in the post sales service instead of opening so many boutiques worldwide ! Another view is: I think the Leica boutique stores are an invaluable addition to the Leica culture. They support local Leica artists by giving them a space to showcase their work, they hold workshops, and last but not least you can walk in with or without your own camera and try any of the current products without any pressure to buy.
.

2. Consider replacing the IR cover glass that is over the sensor with another type of cover (BG-18) that is less sensitive to humidity.Do this only for defective sensors,

3. Be more consistent in deciding whether to charge or not charge for sensor issues repairs.


4. Stop the bargaining at the repair counter by giving a 5 years warranty on cameras as with lenses

5. Don't ever stop making CCD based Digital cameras. This is a wish that may be difficult to satisfy.

6. Make the upgrade from the M9 immediate, even if the sensor is working. Others suggest to replace only defective sensors.

7. Leica has a special relationship with a niche market segment that is historically invested in old and new M mount lenses and has followed the company through and contributed to its transition to the digital age. Unfortunately, a significant portion of the users in this niche segment cannot afford products priced at the luxury-niche level. And many who do make the stretch are doing so with the idea of being able to use the camera for a longer period of time. This part of the market deserves a no-frills, reliable, moderately priced option that offers full M mount compatibility, full frame, at a premium over other non-RF products, but still at a price affordable for this loyal base.

8. Leica's only chance for survival is to market to luxury/upscale demographics. Leica's brand must resonate with these demographics. Quality and excellence are crucial to maintain and enhance the brand image.


9. Leica is looking for new buyers, who will buy a body and four new lenses, and put 20k on their credit card in one day. But at the same time they want to keep referring to the history, and those collector/users, who were there long before the digital system was sold.

10. The challenge for Leica is that digital products have a shorter time frame as they become obsolete. . Unfortunately many of the buyers are hoping that the Leica product does not become obsolete. The sensor issue puts Leica in a difficult position as it wants to repair the fault but does not want to pay for people to solve their digital obsolescence problem at Leica's expense.

11. In some countries while there are Leica dealers. no service is available, so users need to mail their Leica cameras to Germany and then wait 4-6 weeks until the camera is returned. It would be helpful if Leica offers camera rentals for the waiting time.

12. Customer service for email inquiries should be improved.
 

asiafish

All-Pro
Location
Bakersfield, CA
Real Name
Andrew
Great list Raid. With regard to the boutiques, I am a strong supporter of them. I've already attended one workshop out of the Los Angeles boutique and am scheduled for another out of the San Francisco boutique. The no-pressure environment is fantastic and quite rare these days, as are the staff, who are all genuine enthusiasts if not professional photographers who really know not only the Leica product, but have a lot of knowledge of technique and are always happy to share. It doesn't matter if one is looking at a $5000 lens or a $125 strap, its always a great experience and worth the two-hour drive from Bakersfield to Los Angeles. Of course, my one hour stop usually turns into three or four with the wonderful gallery upstairs.
 

VINCETAN

Top Veteran
Great list Raid. With regard to the boutiques, I am a strong supporter of them. I've already attended one workshop out of the Los Angeles boutique and am scheduled for another out of the San Francisco boutique. The no-pressure environment is fantastic and quite rare these days, as are the staff, who are all genuine enthusiasts if not professional photographers who really know not only the Leica product, but have a lot of knowledge of technique and are always happy to share. It doesn't matter if one is looking at a $5000 lens or a $125 strap, its always a great experience and worth the two-hour drive from Bakersfield to Los Angeles. Of course, my one hour stop usually turns into three or four with the wonderful gallery upstairs.


So jealous that we don't have a boutique near by. The only one I saw was in Hong Kong and unfortunately, not a big store.
 

asiafish

All-Pro
Location
Bakersfield, CA
Real Name
Andrew
LA is a two hour drive for me, but I am often there for court and try to plan my schedule so I can stop in every few months.

San Francisco is 4 1/2 hours away, but the boutique is right next door to the hotel I stay at when I have court there, about once or twice per month.
 
D

dalethorn

Guest
LA is a two hour drive for me, but I am often there for court and try to plan my schedule so I can stop in every few months. San Francisco is 4 1/2 hours away, but the boutique is right next door to the hotel I stay at when I have court there, about once or twice per month.

In 1987 I used to drive from Pasadena down the 15 to the HP HQ in San Diego, in about 3 to 3.5 hours - impossible today. Good to see you can get down the 5 in good time, although it must be non-peak hours.
 

Raid

All-Pro
I emailed the curent CEO and also the next CEO some questions about Leica.
Oliver Kaltner "is on a business trip to the USA", but he wrote me that he can start a discussion with me after he takes over as CEO in April. Alrfed Schopf wrote me that he is not allowed to get into such discussions anymore this month.
 

asiafish

All-Pro
Location
Bakersfield, CA
Real Name
Andrew
In 1987 I used to drive from Pasadena down the 15 to the HP HQ in San Diego, in about 3 to 3.5 hours - impossible today. Good to see you can get down the 5 in good time, although it must be non-peak hours.

ALWAYS non-peak hours. I'll sit for three hours in Starbucks rather than brave a rush-hour freeway.
 
D

dalethorn

Guest
There's a 3-part video on Luminous Landscape with Reichmann and 2 others discussing rangefinders in depth - Leicas especially. They charge for the video, but I was also able to convert it to run on my ipad and iphone. Definitely recommended for a broad perspective on the M cameras etc.
 

Raid

All-Pro
It is worrying some people that Leica sells ME cameras with the sensor that reportedly has tendencies to get damaged.
 
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